Friday, February 11, 2011

Duck retirement home

BD, the Muscovy duck is in his old age now and living life well in the barn, with his relatively new friend, Lucky, the Pekin duck.

They've both seen their fair share of problems in their lifetimes and stick together like glue.  Lucky, so named because he survived attacks by mink, fox and an owl, loved to explore outside, but BD is very slow and arthritic and doesn't like to stray far from the barn door.  Lucky patiently waits by his side, never wandering off more than a few feet.

BD is old in duck years - into his 10th year now, even though it seems some ducks can live til they're 20.  I hope he does live that long and more.  Even though he's just a duck, he's my favourite guy.  I mean, who could resist those pale blue eyes?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jelly update

 Medusa - WIP
16 x 20"  coloured pencil

This week has been crazy busy for me both at work and with art.  I haven't had a lot of time to create, but I've been fitting in my daily drawings - more likes sketches most days, and have had a few minutes to add some more layers to the jellyfish.

To cover the scratch on the board, I've started to add another jellyfish in the distance.  No one else can see to see the scratch besides me and it is really only apparent in certain light.  But I *can* see it and it will prey on my mind constantly unless a fix was found.  Hence, the distant jelly.

An interested fact about jellyfish and one I didn't know is that the adult jelly is called a medusa.  This is provided the perfect name for this piece and what better a name for a jellyfish with those long floaty tendrils.  At least they don't look like snakes.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Speckled trout

I'm on the home stretch for this gyotaku project and have purchased some interesting Japanese papers for the workshop next month.  There are so many kinds of papers, a fortune could be spent on them and it seems a bit like that at times!  However, as always, I have champagne tastes and beer money.  It seems whatever I'm drawn to or like using, ends up being the most expensive paper.  But I'm trying for middle of the range in pricing, with a few more expensive pieces included, as they do perform very well.

Tonight I've been working on a speckled trout.  The colour of this little fish is spectacular and I love using the very thin tissues to get a print from the trout.  I like seeing them appear under the paper, as if by magic, then the revealed print as I hold my breath and hope that it worked.  Its all magic.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Atlantic Lobster

I've been manipulating a lobster over the last couple of days to try to do a gyotaku print.  A hard shelled crustacean is difficult to print well and as a lobster has a a number of prickly point in its armour it makes it more difficult to mould paper around the shell without tearing it.

For crustaceans the indirect method of gyotaku is the best, using fabric - a light weight cotton or silk and tamping colour through the fabric instead of inking the beast itself.  I didn't have the right fabric on hand, so I used the lightest rice paper that I had as well as a bit of unryu.

The body just wouldn't do what I wanted and the lobster's crushing claw came away from the body, so I took advantage of the fairly flat surface of the large claw to print just that section.  These will not be large pieces, measuring around 8 x 10, and I'll experiment with a couple with added background colour as well as leaving a couple as just the print itself.

And for those who wish to know, here's everything about Atlantic lobsters!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Romanian hay stacks

Haystacks at Magura

This month's Virtual Paintout is in Romania.  Its a region of the world that I know little about, so I had a interesting time wandering in urban and rural areas and seemed to find something new to paint everywhere I looked.

As usual, I head straight for the countryside, as I love to know how other parts of the world farm for food, raise animals, etc.  Its usually just a different scale of things but the buildings and landscape change, sometimes dramatically.

This piece was of haystacks in or near Magura, Romania.  I loved the little hand built stacks supported by frames of wood and knew they'd have to be painted.  I used acrylics on an 8 x 10 canvas board.

I had painted over a previous image with red and like how that shows through and gives warmth to the piece.  The red complements the greens well here.  I must use more coloured grounds under my paintings as they add a richness.